Thursday, 23 January 2014

Alcoholics Anonymous | Jan 23 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 1 "Powerless"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Jan 23 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 1 "Powerless"


January 23 Video

January 23 Video


DonInLondon January 23, 2014: something happens, it can be a good bad or ugly experience which kicks off an emotional hurricane. An experience which upsets our balance emotionally and spiritually, can be an emotional hurricane of different categories, just like nature we can have a whole weather system of emotions clattering in our minds. When the emotional hurricane starts to settle, we can still be in stormy thinking, churning the experience around and around until we let it out and ask for help or simply express what is going on to another human being.


When somebody does something which is so upsetting, we tried to get past our feelings of upset and get into our thinking heads where logically we think we ought to be able to sort it out. How many times do we go round in circles, trying to understand every angle of what is happening in the here and now. These emotional upsets in recovery are immensely important to recognise as natural occurrences when things are bad or ugly, and especially when we might be falling in love! Hurt people, or people who keep on hurting others and ourselves, are likely to cause the same reaction inside us as people. Hurt people, are very able to make us hurt them back in retaliation and in resentment. When we share our issues and emotional conundrums, we express them outwards and if people can hear and listen, they may be able to help us.


I feel we have a big problem in recovery, we feel as we did before, that we are the problem solvers, we can overcome much of what we encounter and find good solutions. The problem is of course that we still rely on everything we have inside our heads and if we feel under pressure, or that we ought to be able to sort things out, we find ourselves in a downward spiral and can end up isolating and trying to use what we know, rather than discover what happens when we let go and share the issues with others. We have to overcome our pride and ego, and the fear that other people might judge us as inadequate in some way. When we are being hurt, expressing what is going on, can make us realise that we do need to let go and get help from whatever source is appropriate.


How many times must I go round and round in circles in my own mind trying to sort things out, when I have many friends and many connections who can give me advice on what to do? The more I express what is going on sooner rather than later, the truth "as I see it" and let go these opinions and beliefs I have, I might get some good advice, or it might be that am just trying to do the impossible, and the serenity prayer is very helpful, can do cannot do and wisdom to know the difference. All I need to do is stop thinking that I have the answers, even when I have the right answers, the rest of the world and in particular people places and things, are not going to listen, or bend to my will. Self will run riot, means I am not listening, and I am not getting to the truth and the big picture of now.


I'm just back from a meeting, chatting with people before and after about life in general is a wonderful experience. The meeting before the meeting, is all about settling in and finding and seeing friends in Fellowship. The meeting after the meeting is always about how it was for each and everyone. We talk meaningfully about real life matters as they are occurring on a daily basis and how Fellowship helps? Obviously for me it is in sharing experience strength and hope and learning about the principles or steps which make life a more enriching experience. We hear about the reality of life, how we are coping and how the Fellowship and steps work for all of us one day at a time. And of course we are all at different stages in our understanding, and we are in different stages of coping with reality. I'm amazed at my fellows who seem very often to solve their issues with help from fellows and others and problems far quicker than me! And I keep on learning from them today.


January Step One Month: "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable." I admit that I am powerless over alcohol and if I were to drink again my life would be unmanageable. Powerlessness over a substance! How on Earth do I reconcile with all my intellect and all my feelings that I cannot drink again? Easy! The evidence of my last years of drinking taught me that I could not control my drinking at all. And the effect of one drink, will not improve reality, it will blot reality. It will blot my ability to see the truth of my situation. And as I am now able to see and surrender to the truth on a daily basis, one drink won't do it, and a thousand will never be enough to find that feeling of being okay, and then obliterated state and unable to cope with reality. That is my truth and I surrender to the truth on a daily basis. And this often applies to all encounters with people, places and things. When I surrender to a bigger truth only possible through interaction and understanding, then I am making progress one day at a time.



DonInLondon 2004 - 2013


January 23 2013 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 1 "Powerless" | Alcoholics Anonymous | "An Emphatic No Is Better Than A Half Hearted Yes..." "One for the Road?" The emotional and spiritual tug between doing what is good for us and what is bad for us. The love affair, standing on the doorstep desiring just one more kiss. Some things are good and best experienced with a clear head, and other times we just don't know how to say no, or even hear someone say no, most emphatically…


I was chatting with a friend on the phone yesterday, and all sorts of difficult situations occurring because people were treading on their toes, being unbelievably selfish and unable to see their point of view. When we start recovery, the first thing we need to develop is a sense of what is good and what is bad for us. And the old adage, "it is the first drink which does the damage," is absolutely true. It is not the last drink, the one for the Road which does the damage, it is the last drink that takes us out of the game, sometimes completely and forever. Why can't we say no?


In a few minutes, the UK Prime Minister is going to suggest that a referendum about being part of the European Union might happen in about five years’ time. It is a nonsensical issue, to discuss something that might happen, five years from now, when the next decisions on the economy this year might mean there is no European Union to be part of in five years’ time. The most important part of living is to be assertive about the right things in the moment, to state your case and be able to defend and to assert and debate. A bit like fellowship, a fellowship with one primary purpose, with a population of many faiths and beliefs. Similarly, in the European Union, one common purpose, which is union and common ground, with many different populations having their say. If you don't like something you can argue about it, if you don't like something we need to be persuasive, and vote no, even though we might vote yes for some things, and no, for some other things, that is how democracy works. In fellowship, we can say no to what is bad for us and say yes to what is good for us, they said in the moment and not five years from now…


Fellowship is founded on truth, love and wisdom, and as human beings in fellowship, we might not always understand what is going on, but the primary purpose is always obvious, and said at the beginning of every meeting in the AA preamble. And what lies beneath? It is the emotional and spiritual principles of life, twelve principles so that we may learn about unconditional love. How to love people, how to be loved back by people and find endeavours which are useful. So we have courage to change, faith in the next right thing, and develop confidence in living one day at a time… And so we have to say no to quite a lot of stuff, starting with alcohol, then just about anything else we might be addicted to, connected with people, places and things. I had to say no to drink and recognise my powerlessness, if I took one drink, it would not stop there. And then life would become unmanageable. The first emphatic no, rather than a half-hearted yes…


And then we find ourselves most likely overwhelmed by our emotions in the moment of now. Raw emotions which are not blunted by alcohol or substances, experienced after a good long time, probably are quite unpredictable which is why the twelve steps are available to help us re-form our outlook, understand our feelings for the first time, maybe in a long time, and simply cope with reality. Simple process, complicated by years and years of ingrained unhelpful outlooks about what we can and cannot do...


Learning how to say an emphatic no to almost anything is quite helpful. The emphatic no was something Gandhi recommended. So in early days of recovery when I realised I was headed into danger, because my first response was always yes I can do that, was practising how to say no, and sharing the quote from Gandhi, it's not a direct quote, it's a short version, "as Gandhi said, an emphatic no is better than a half-hearted yes." It is stark, sometimes funny and sometimes downright unhelpful to other people who want you to do something to their advantage and not necessarily to your advantage.


You could say to them, whoever they may be, "if you were in my shoes, being asked this question, you might want to use this quote to start to understand if it's a reasonable thing to ask of me, Gandhi said, an emphatic no is better than a half-hearted yes, so in this case, looking at it from my point of view, the answer is no." We might say, when asked to do something which is wrong for us, "no, it would be wrong for me to do this right now. And I can't ever see me wanting to do it in the future." It's a good way of stopping the people pleasing we might do, which is dangerous for us. Often people make unreasonable requests. And equally, we might be making unreasonable requests of people. Other people don't have a problem saying no, most of the time, if they are normal people, but then the world's a bit twisted and we all seem to be quite egocentric. And the problem with ego, is we all have one…


I was channel hopping on TV last night, and somehow a St Bernard dog came onto the screen and was wearing a barrel round its neck with brandy and it. The TV presenter offered some brandy to a guest, who simply said, "no thanks, I don't drink anymore…" And then the uncomfortable silence, as the point of the St Bernard dog and the barrel and the brandy were made redundant, so the presenter felt awkward and their co-presenter said, "don't worry, I'll have some." It is very interesting, first, that the person said no thanks, and the presenters obviously haven't done their homework, and then one of them takes a drink, and it’s obvious to a non-drinker like me, that the one drink is impaired the presenter. What seemed a convivial start to a programme, well it didn't go too well after that. And the obvious thing for me is respect for the guest who was gentle and firm and said no. And this is the good news for anyone who learns how to say no, you don't have to get angry, to say no and be difficult, a clear no to what is bad for a person leaves no room for manoeuvre or any form of ridicule for saying no. If a person persists in asking you to do something and pressurises, the emphatic no is truly important. And if pressed further, just tell them to, "kindly fuck off and mind their own business."


Fellowship is not perfect, the principles are perfect, and we can make progress towards having a good day. Days in recovery? Yes, they are good, they are bad, and they are ugly in differing amounts depending on what you are doing and what the world is doing. Fellowship is full of people having, "good, bad and ugly experiences all day long, and every day." So we learn from all life experiences going on today. When we go to meetings of the fellowship, we will learn equally when people share the good the bad and the ugly. And what they are doing about it, what they learn and decide to do and say yes, and what they learn and decide to do and how they say no. I do feel that Gandhi was right, and emphatic no is better than a half-hearted yes to what is good for us and what is bad for us, and we only learn the difference in the moment of now…


Recovery offers the opportunity for everyone to get their wits back, and to be able to work out what to do next. On a daily basis, the day could start good, start to go off and depending on how we deal with our choices, now that we are sober, will impact on all the possibilities all day long. If our outlook is to be open, honest and willing, we have better opportunities to gather good intelligence and information about what we can do and what we can't do. It doesn't take the fun out of life. Indeed it makes it more fun to be working out and working with and asking other people, "in my shoes. What would you do?"


As you start to realise you have your freedoms back, you need to realise everybody else has their freedom as well, and everything we all do is probably a negotiation about yes and no. And recognising sometimes just not feeling like doing something is perfectly acceptable. After all we are neither doormats, and we don't want to make doormats of other people. If you're looking to get your way in this life, it might be a very difficult life as many doors will shut and you probably are the one shutting them. Don't worry, the more you understand that other people have equal rights, may like you in some ways but don't want you to be their best buddy, the more you will find the right buddies one day at a time. And if you are single, you might find romance, and you might just find what it is to love without conditions, usually the conditions you impose on yourself, need to be worked out as much as no conditions on anyone anywhere at any time. No expectations, means no resentments under construction, so if you like someone, you better be likeable just for today…


January 23 2012 | Daily Reflection | AA daily reflection is all about, "are we having fun yet?" We're not a glum lot is the assertion I heard in early days and read in the daily reflections. I did see people having fun, heard them talk about fun times they were having. It took a while to believe them, and then an inkling of change in me began. Happy as my situation could be, and sad when my situation was sad. Real feelings happening in the moment of now…


Those early days, it was very difficult to understand that addiction was not a choice. That addiction could happen to anyone. Guilt, shame and deep hurt inside kept me stuck in the darkness for an age. Building courage, faith and confidence took a long while and a deeper understanding of "the human condition" and that redemption was possible one day at a time…


I need understand that the twelve steps are an active way of living life and step one, "I am powerless over alcohol, people places and things, and that life will become unmanageable if I take a drink or believe I can bend the world to my will." At the same time, I have freedom of choice based on my real situation today, and coping with reality is indeed my spiritual path…


Last night I was asked to chair my home group meeting. I shared my experience strength and hope of recovery over the last few years. As people shared back, I was listening for the similarities and not the differences. I heard the principles and experiences of living a new way. Each person unique and authentic on their life path able to share the truth as it is today. And then fun emerges, and indeed we are not a glum lot. Then hot chocolate with friends, laughter and sadness, serious and fun sharing about life today…


DonInLondon 2005-2011


I generally go to AA, and if there were no AA I would go to NA and if there were no NA, I would go to CA and I went to OA by mistake and they were very friendly... I had and have a desire to stop self-harm, so I may work with whatever works. People are people in fellowship, inclusive and not exclusive, same steps, same principles, same suggestions, similarities and not the differences? People, change our behaviour…


Sober we can love, be loved and cherish ~ Anais Nin "Anxiety is love's greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic." And that is why I feel we need lean on fellowship and not individuals...


Step One "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable"


AA Daily: HAVING FUN YET? JANUARY 23. We aren’t a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn’t want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life. We try not to indulge in cynicism over the state of the nations, nor do we carry the world’s troubles on our shoulders. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 132


When my own house is in order, I find the different parts of my life are more manageable. Stripped from the guilt and remorse that dogged my drinking years, I am free to assume my proper role in the universe, but this condition requires maintenance. I should stop and ask myself, “Am I having fun yet?” If I find answering that question difficult or painful, perhaps I’m taking myself too seriously - and finding it difficult to admit that I’ve strayed from my practice of working the program to keep my house in order. I think the pain I experience is one way my Higher Power has to get my attention, coaxing me to take stock of my performance. The slight time and effort it takes to work the program - a spot-check inventory, for example, or the making of amends, whatever is appropriate - are well worth the effort.



Step One Video 12 & 12

Step One Video 12 & 12


AA Big Book Video | Chapter 1 | Bill's Story |

AA Big Book Video | Chapter 1 | Bill's Story |


AA Big Book Video | Chapter 2 | There Is A Solution |

AA Big Book Video | Chapter 2 | There Is A Solution |



AA Big Book Video | Chapter 3 | More About Alcoholism |

AA Big Book Video | Chapter 3 | More About Alcoholism |



AA Big Book Video | Chapter 4 | We Agnostics |

AA Big Book Video | Chapter 4 | We Agnostics |



AA Big Book Video | Chapter 5 | How It Works |

AA Big Book Video | Chapter 5 | How It Works |


Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,

No comments: